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Joint LIPA-ConEd wind farm won't be cheap, study says

Connecting the nation's largest proposed offshore wind farm to the Long Island and New York City power grids is "feasible" but won't come cheap, according to a joint study by the Long Island Power Authority and Con Edison, which projected that land-based upgrades alone would eventually top $800 million. That price tag for the project off the coast of the Rockaways matches the cost of the entire offshore wind-farm off Jones Beach that LIPA scrapped in 2007.

Connecting the nation's largest proposed offshore wind farm to the Long Island and New York City power grids is "feasible" but won't come cheap, according to a joint study by the Long Island Power Authority and Con Edison, which projected that land-based upgrades alone would eventually top $800 million.

That price tag for the project off the coast of the Rockaways matches the cost of the entire offshore wind-farm off Jones Beach that LIPA scrapped in 2007.

But the joint project, still in the early conceptual phase, is considerably larger and Con Ed and LIPA would share the costs.

Under a scenario unveiled last year, LIPA and Con Ed would erect several hundred wind turbines at least 13 miles off the coast and share the energy they generate. The project would be completed in two phases, starting with 100 turbines to add 350 megawatts of power, enough to power 250,000 homes. A second phase would boost the output to 700 megawatts - double the capacity of LIPA's new Caithness power plant set to open in Yaphank this spring. Each phase would require more than $400 million in land-based upgrades to accommodate the power.

LIPA chief executive Kevin Law said the project could prove more... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Connecting the nation's largest proposed offshore wind farm to the Long Island and New York City power grids is "feasible" but won't come cheap, according to a joint study by the Long Island Power Authority and Con Edison, which projected that land-based upgrades alone would eventually top $800 million.

That price tag for the project off the coast of the Rockaways matches the cost of the entire offshore wind-farm off Jones Beach that LIPA scrapped in 2007.

But the joint project, still in the early conceptual phase, is considerably larger and Con Ed and LIPA would share the costs.

Under a scenario unveiled last year, LIPA and Con Ed would erect several hundred wind turbines at least 13 miles off the coast and share the energy they generate. The project would be completed in two phases, starting with 100 turbines to add 350 megawatts of power, enough to power 250,000 homes. A second phase would boost the output to 700 megawatts - double the capacity of LIPA's new Caithness power plant set to open in Yaphank this spring. Each phase would require more than $400 million in land-based upgrades to accommodate the power.

LIPA chief executive Kevin Law said the project could prove more feasible than building new transmission lines to import wind-based energy from upstate. In any case, he said, "We need to look at the economics. It has to make sense for our ratepayers" before LIPA decides whether to proceed.

In a statement, Con Ed chief Kevin Burke said the utilities "will work closely with federal, state and municipal leaders to move this process along in a responsible way." Law met yesterday with U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu at Brookhaven National Labs, where he asked for help paying for the "premium" costs of wind and solar energy.

In the next phase of the project, LIPA will request state funds to conduct wind studies to find out if the site can generate enough power, begin to examine environmental impacts, and study the costs of the wind farm itself.

One potential bidder, Deepwater Wind of Hoboken, N.J., projected that cost at between $2.2 billion and $2.5 billion. Chris Wissemann, Deepwater's chief operating officer, said LIPA may be able to reduce the high connection cost by doing the project alone. "The dual-utility solution spreads the pain around, but it may lead to more costly power," given the high costs of the Con Ed portion of the project, he said. Deepwater, formerly known as Winergy, last year was selected to develop an offshore wind farm off Rhode Island, and it will bid on the LIPA-Con Ed project, Wissemann said.

Another likely bidder is Bluewater Wind of Hoboken, N.J., which had bid on LIPA's Jones Beach project. Peter D. Mandelstam, Bluewater's president, called the project "very doable" and said, "We're extremely eager to bid on a project off the coast of Long Island."


Source: http://www.newsday.com/news...

MAR 24 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/19541-joint-lipa-coned-wind-farm-won-t-be-cheap-study-says
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